Posts Tagged by food

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Almonds, Cranberries & Feta

Brussels Sprouts-IG

The other night I was looking for a way to make the brussels sprouts I had into more of a “meal.”  Honestly I hadn’t gone shopping in a while so I was working with what I had leftover in the fridge.  I was having a craving for my favorite roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, but it needed something.  Then I found I had these:

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Dried cranberries, almonds and feta cheese.  The perfect salty-sweet-crunchy combo!  The awesome thing about this recipe…it’s the PERFECT compliment to all of those holiday meals coming up!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Almonds, Cranberries and Feta
Serves 2
A delicious salty-sweet-crunchy version of roasted brussels sprouts!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  2. 20-30 brussels sprouts, halved or quartered
  3. Fresh ground pepper
  4. 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
  5. 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  6. 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Dice the bacon and cook in a small pan over medium heat for around 10 minutes until lightly browned but not cooked fully.
  3. Depending on the size, half or quarter the brussels sprouts and place on a sheet pan with fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Pour bacon along with the bacon fat over the brussels sprouts and toss to combine.
  5. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes or until browned.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and toss with almonds, cranberries and feta.
  7. Enjoy!
RAD Living http://www.rad-living.com/
This recipe is quick, easy, and absolutely delicious!  I’m pretty sure you could even get the most avid brussels sprouts hater to like these.  Enjoy!

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Taste of New Haven Theater District Tour

Taste-of-New-Haven-Theater-District-Tour

We moved to the New Haven area 5 years ago and are still fining new places to eat and enjoy in the Elm City.  One of the best ways we’ve found to explore the city is on a Taste of New Haven tour.  These tours offer a unique look at the city with stops at various shops and restaurants where you sample the food and drink offerings.  The tour guides are incredibly knowledgable about the history of New Haven and its beautiful architecture.  This weekend we took our second tour through the Theater District in Downtown New Haven.  It included wine, chocolate, apizza, local beer, margaritas and a stroll through Yale in the rain…it was a blast!  Come on, I’ll take you along…

We met our tour guide Natalie at Temple Plaza behind the Shubert Theatre at 3pm on Saturday.  There were about 16 people in our group and we all quickly introduced ourselves by sharing our name, where we’re from, what we do and what our favorite food is.  That is a really tough question for me, but I went with pork belly…of course 🙂

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After a brief history of the plaza we were in, we headed off to our first stop which was a wine tasting.  Natalie warned us we were going to have a good time!

The Wine Thief

Here we were treated to a tasting of two wines, a von Schleinitz Riesling and a red from Portugal called Agricultura.  The Riesling was too sweet and neither B nor I enjoyed it, but the Agricultura was wonderful!  That is a wine I never would pick up in the store because I know nothing about Portuguese wines, but now I might have a new favorite.  

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We took some time to look around the shop that is filled with unique spirits and has a large local beer section.  We also learned that a wine thief is actually a long glass shaft that is used to sample barrels as they are aging.  I just figured they like to go around stealing wine…

Temple Grill

After a few samples, we headed over to Temple Grill for a bite to eat and a cocktail.  

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Even with a slight drizzle, we were seated outside under umbrellas which was nice.  We were greeted with Sangira and their Waldorf Chicken Salad Wrap with homemade Waffle Fries.  I’m not a big fan of Sangria but this was pretty tasty and not overly sweet.  The wrap was just ok, nothing to get excited about, but the waffle fries were delicious!  I could’ve eaten a bucket of those.

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Taste-of-New-Haven-Temple-Grill-Wrap

While we ate, Natalie told us a bit of history about the location and the owner’s great, great, great grandfather who apparently owned a local brewery and became a pioneer by selling his product on Sundays right there in that location.  

Bar

The rain was really starting to come down now so we quickly made our way to the next stop on the tour, Bar.  New Haven is famous for its “apizza” style of pizza, which I have really grown to love over the past few years.  Bar was one place I hadn’t tried yet so I was excited to see what all the hype was about.  

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The restaurant is very unique in that it is housed inside an old parking garage and still has all the exposed brick and metal beams exposed.  The space is massive and we were seated in the Back Room which is actually turned into a nightclub on the weekends.  

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Here we sampled three of their own beers that they brew on premise: Toasted Blonde, AmBAR Ale and Damn Good Stout.  I actually really enjoyed all three of these, but the Damn Good Stout was by far my favorite.  It was actually light for a stout and had interesting coffee and chocolate notes.  

Taste-of-New-Haven-Bar-Beer

While we were waiting for our pizza, we learned more about the history of New Haven Apizza and the rivalries between the famous institutions of Frank Pepe’s and Sally’s.  Bar’s pizza is a bit different from the traditional as the crust is thinner and it is not made in a coal fired over, but damn that was some good pizza!

Taste-of-New-Haven-Bar-Pizza

We were able to sample 3 different pies: a traditional red pie (no cheese), red pie with mozzarella, and Bar’s signature mashed potato and bacon pie.  While the mashed potato pie might sound good in theory, it was way too rich for me.  That’s like heavy carbs on top of carbs.  My favorite was actually the red pie…the sauce was so good that it really didn’t need anything else.  After we ate, Natalie treated us all to a few Fireball shots…FIRE IN THE HOLE!

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By the time we left, the rain was coming down but it was still pretty warm out so B and I actually had a fun time walking around in the rain.  Maybe the shots helped too.  On our way to the next spot, we stopped to look at some of the architecture of the Yale buildings on what I’m assuming is their version of “fraternity row.”  Not only did the Greek letters give it away, but so did the abundance of red solo cups…sigh…

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Chocolat Maya

What’s better to have after some pizza and beer than some chocolate?!  B was super stoked about this next stop  🙂  Chocolat Maya is a boutique chocolate shop, meets cocktail lounge…ok now I was stoked too!  

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Not only did we get a chocolate sampling, but we were greeted with a Salted Caramel Martini!  This is Caramel  Vodka and Butterscotch Schnapps with a Salted Caramel Truffle inside.  OH. YES. PLEASE!  The drink was quite sweet, but I surprisingly really enjoyed it!  We will be back for sure.

Taste-of-New-Haven-Chocolat-Maya-Salted-Caramel-Martini

Before leaving, B had to get some chocolates for the road.  He grabbed up an assortment of dark chocolate truffles which were perfect for snacking on the rest of the tour.

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Yale Campus

After stuffing our faces and having quite a few cocktails, we took a break and walked around the Yale Campus a bit.  It is like stepping back in time…makes me wish I tried a bit harder in high school so I could’ve had a chance at going there!  I just want to stay in one of those buildings!

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Taste-of-New-Haven-Yale

We stopped outside the Yale Center for British Art, a beautiful museum that is free and open to the public.  Then moved on up to the infamous Skull & Bones building.  It’s quite the fortress…

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On our walk we came across a statue of Theodore Dwight Woolsey, president of Yale in the mid-1800s.  Rumor has it that rubbing his foot will bring good luck, which is why you can see that the color on the shoe is quite worn from over 100 years of luck giving.  Also, check out the crazy cobweb veil going on…yikes!  

Taste-of-New-Haven-Yale-Woolsey-Foot

On our way to the next location, we stopped to learn about at a few other unique landmarks.  The Taft Hotel, home to one of my favorite spots in New Haven, Ordinary.  Then it was on to a public art project called Square with four circles, which is located in a walkway between Zinc Restaurant and Ann Taylor.  You can see it in the background of this awesome photo of me with a fake goat in a wagon.

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Oaxaca Kitchen

Time for some Mexican food!  Chips, salsa, guacamole and margaritas make the perfect meal…I probably should’ve said that in the beginning intros!  That is just what we had at Oaxaca Kitchen on College Street.  

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Taste-of-New-Haven-Oaxaca-Kitchen-Chips-Guac-Margarita

The guac was great (however not as good as mine!) and the salsa has a nice zing.  The margaritas had too much lime juice and/or sour mix in them and many people at the table had the same complaint.  We were able to sit next to a different group at this spot, which is part of the fun in these tours…getting to know people!

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Now it was time to move on to our last stop on the tour.  We were actually pretty full at this point and feeling good from the drinks…it’s amazing how fast four hours can go by when you’re having fun.

Kelly’s Gastropub

This was the only stop on the tour that we had actually been to before.  It had been a few years, but the meal wasn’t all that memorable so I didn’t have high hopes for this spot.  

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Yes, that is B photobombing my pic.  We were greeted by the friendly owner, Pat, who gave us a selection of beers to choose from.  I went with the 1687 Brown Ale from local brewery Charter Oak in Norwalk and B chose the Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Ale from North Coast Brewing.  Big fan of both of these beers!  Pat entertained the group with stories of how he came to America from Ireland and how he ended up setting up shop here in New Haven.  Very entertaining indeed…

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While the beer and company were great, the food was a miss.  I actually forgot to take a photo because I was quite unimpressed.  We were given a goat cheese croquette, tuna tartare and caprese on a cracker.  They were like leftover hors d’ouerves they just threw together for us because (as Pat admitted) they forgot we were coming. 

Natalie then brought in some Mochi Ice Cream that she picked up at Jake’s Diggity Dogs next door.  This was my first experience with mochi and I must say, I’m not a fan.  The chewy, gummy texture was kind of gross.  However B enjoyed it and ate mine up.  As if he didn’t have enough chocolate that day!

Taste-of-New-Haven-Mochi-Ice-Cream

Besides the hiccup with the food at the end, the tour overall was fantastic, informative and just fun!  I think these tours are an absolute steal at $55 (+tax & gratuity) when you consider all of the food and drink you get.  Plus the historical information on New Haven is just fascinating.  There are currently nine different tours being offered, including a Pizza and Pints Bike Tour.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?!    If you are in the New Haven area, or even just passing through, I highly recommend one of these tours.  I think the Wooster Square tour is next on my list…gotta check out all that apizza!

 Do you have any local food tours in your area to check out?

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Beet, Fennel & Goat Cheese Salad

Beet-Fennel-Goat-Cheese-Salad

There is a serious divide among the general population when it come to beets.  Either people love them (that would be me) or they think they taste like dirt (that would be B).  I don’t get the dirt thing.  Yes, they are grown in the dirt but so are potatoes, carrots, onions, etc…  No one thinks those taste like dirt.  To me, they are sweet and delicious.  

For the past 3 weeks, I’ve received beets as part of my CSA.  Purple beets, golden beets and heirloom candy stripe beets.  YUM. My favorite way to cook beets is to simply roast them with olive oil, salt and pepper.  So I saved all of the beets from the CSA to roast all together so I could have a medley.  Look how pretty!

Roasted-Beets

After roasting, I let them cool and have actually been saving them in the fridge all week.  With some of the other veggies from my CSA, I’ve been making some great salads.  This beet, fennel and goat cheese salad is by far my favorite!  The fennel adds a nice crunch and the tangy goat cheese compliments the sweet beets perfectly!  

Beet, Fennel & Goat Cheese Salad
Serves 4
A delicious and healthy summertime salad!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
For the salad
  1. 15 - 20 Beets depending on size (any kind works well)
  2. 1 Bulb of Fennel
  3. 1 Kohlrabi
  4. 4 Scallions
  5. 4 ounces Goat Cheese
  6. Arugula (optional)
  7. Olive Oil
  8. Salt & Pepper
For the dressing
  1. 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  2. 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  3. 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  4. Salt & Pepper
Prepare the beets ahead of time
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Peel beets and place in a roasting pan. Cut larger beets in half to make all the same size.
  3. Toss with olive oil, salt & pepper.
  4. Cover with tin foil and roast for 45 minutes or until fork tender.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool completely. (Beets can be stored for 5+ days)
For the salad
  1. Slice the beets into bite sized pieces.
  2. Thinly slice fennel. (Chop up the fennel fronds too!)
  3. Julienne kohlrabi.
  4. Slice scallions.
  5. Crumble Goat Cheese.
  6. Season with salt & pepper.
For the dressing
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small, sealable container. Shake until combined and pour over salad.
  2. Toss to combine.
Notes
  1. All measurements are approximations. Add and/or substitute ingredients as you like.
  2. This is very good combined with grilled chicken or pork!
RAD Living http://www.rad-living.com/
So, what side of the fence do you fall on?  Do you love beets or do you think they taste like dirt?  Even if you are on the dirt side, I think this salad might win you over…come to the beety side!!!

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June Pop Shop Market – Fairfield, CT

What do you get when you combine the first warm day of the year with local artisans and food vendors??  Did you just say a seriously rad day?  Yeah, that’s what I would say too 🙂

Pop-Shop-Market-Logo

I first heard of Pop Shop around Christmastime but for some reason or another I could never make any of them. Finally in early June I recruited a friend of mine to go with me to the one in Fairfield and it exceeded both of our expectations.  The day before we had actually gone to a local church bazaar/open-air market that was about 3 times the size, but we hardly saw anything we were interested in.  Like most of these type of events, the items found there were very “crafty” and not really my thing.  However, Pop Shop is the complete opposite!

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Pop Shop has very unique, modern vendors.  Many feature antiques and repurposed items like these super cool lights from Stonehill Design.  I really loved the phone!

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The market was partly indoors and partly inside a large warehouse next to the Fairfield Theater Company, which was nice since it was out of the sun and a bit roomier.

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It was hard to not buy ALL THE THINGS.  There was beautiful jewelry, hand crafted signs and locally made soaps and lotions.  The one thing I settled on were these super cool Swedish Dishcloths from Three Bluebirds.  They are eco-friendly, very durable and come in a ton of fun designs!  I went with my favorite flower, Lily of the Valley, and of course some black cats 🙂

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Pop Shop is unique that it also features many local food artisans as well!  There were food trucks from The Local Meatball, The Buzz Truck and Bodega Taco Bar who hosted a Barcar with margaritas…win! 

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Today’s Balls…HA!

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What a wonderful way to spend all your money an afternoon!  I love supporting local businesses (especially now that I am one!) and finding out new things about the area.  For example, I wasn’t aware there was a cheese shop in Fairfield…we all need more cheese in our lives!  The next Pop Shop Market will be in Fairfield again on July 5th as part of the town’s 375th anniversary.  I’ve already got it on my calendar to check out!  

Get out there this summer and check out some of the local events in your area.  You’ll never know what you’ll find and what new things you’re learn about your town!  Do you have fun open-air markets in your area?

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Asparagus – A Labor of Love

I recently started reading a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. It’s the story of a family who left their life in Arizona to live a rural life in southern Appalachia. They vowed to live for one year off of local food they either they grew themselves, or could find in their local community. Not only is it an compelling story, but it is an insightful look at the food culture in America.  

Chapter 2 focuses on asparagus, one of the first vegetable to appear in the spring.  To grow it is truly a labor of love as it takes 3 years after first planting to yield your first crop…that’s a long time to wait.  But if you love and nurture the plants, they can keep producing for 20 – 30 years! 

Robert-Treat-Farm-Asparagus

As the author states, “waiting for foods to come into season means tasting them when they’re good…” and this is particularly true with asparagus.  Since it is such a delicate vegetable, once cut it begins to go down hill very quickly.  I will buy asparagus occasionally through out the year when I’m feeling in the mood, but there is nothing like those few weeks in May when my local farm has their own homegrown asparagus available.  The look an feel of that stalks are like nothing you will find in a grocery store…firm with vibrant colors!

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My favorite way to prepare asparagus is to toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper, then simply roast it in a 425 degree oven for 8 – 1o minutes.   I find this method enhances the flavor even more than simply steaming it.  Fresh, local asparagus is sweet…incredibly sweet!  I find asparagus to generally be a bit bitter, but not this.  It’s like it’s made from sugar.  Such a treat!

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There are only a few weeks left that you will be able to find this vegetable in all of it’s perfectly ripe glory.  So get out there and visit your local farm to pick some up!  Make sure to come back and let me know if you can tell the difference.  I bet you can!

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